This weekend (June 3-6) Longford Rose Nikki O’Byrne will travel to Portlaoise for the Regional Finals of the Rose of Tralee. If successful, Nikki will then take part in the prestigious Rose of Tralee International Festival from August 19 to 23 next.
Speaking to the Leader, Nikki said that she was quietly preparing for her debut at the Regional Finals.
“It really is an honour to represent Longford at Regional level,” she said. “I want to show that there are young girls out there from County Longford that are moving forward and focussing on the positive side of life in spite of the doom and gloom.”
By nature Nikki, a native of Longford town, would not describe herself as a nervous person.
“There are plenty of other emotions and feelings running around though,” she said. “I’ve been talking to the other Roses on facebook and it really is such a wholesome competition. They are not really nervous either. It’s more of a family than a competition.”
Nikki, a previous Miss Longford in the Miss Ireland competition of 2009, is adept at presenting not only herself on stage but also her poetry.
“I write poetry. I’m not sure which piece I’m going to read yet, but it will be something special,” she added.
During the Regional Finals in Portlaoise, Nikki will be wearing a total of eight different outfits.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw my schedule,” said Nikki laughing. “I have to say thank you to Eddie Valentine and Fabiani for all their help and support. I also got some prize money for winning the Longford heat and that really helped with the dresses too.”
A student of English and Geography at NUI Galway, Nikki is spending the summer in Galway working at the Meyrick Hotel.
“I will be home to Longford every chance I get though,” she said. “I really want to make the most of being the Longford Rose. This is a once in a life time opportunity and I want to give it everything,” she said.
Tickets are now on sale for the Regional Finals and can be purchased by calling the Rose of Tralee International Festival Head Office on 066-7121322.
“The tickets cost €30 and although they are expensive I’m told that the atmosphere down there is like a mini Rose of Tralee. It would be great to get the support on the night. I’m on on the Saturday night and again on the Monday night,” said Nikki. The MC throughout the Regional Finals is Daithi O’Shea.